Russian Federation crush sorry Saudi Arabia 5-0 in World Cup opener

Group B is underway at 3am when Morocco, fresh from missing out on hosting rights to the 2026 tournament and appearing at a World Cup for the first time since 1998, meet Iran, who are looking to progress to the knockout rounds for the first time ever.

Both Russia and Saudi Arabia have had a rather unpleasant run heading to the world cup with Russia failing to secure a win in 7 non competitive attempts since beating Korea republic in October, while Saudis have lost three friendly matches in a row- albeit to strong opposition in Italy, Peru and World Cup holders Germany.

The end result was a win beyond Russia's wildest dreams as the hosts claimed their biggest World Cup victory since defeating Hungary 6-0 in 1986. Russian Federation next play Egypt on Tuesday in St Petersburg while the Saudis face Uruguay the following day in Rostov-on-Don.

Villarreal winger Cheryshev took the ball on inside the box, taking two sliding Saudi Arabia players out of the game with his first touch before getting the ball out of his feet and firing high into the net. Aleksandr Golovin's stoppage time free-kick to make it 5-0 was the icing on the cake for the Russians.

Every World Cup needs the host nation to energise the population, and Russian Federation have ticked that box with this result.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony will have a slightly different format to previous editions of the tournament.

Gazinskiy headed in Golovin's cross to score the first goal of the 2018 event, with Dzagoev's replacement Cheryshev lashing in the second before the interval.

The FA had this to say; "We congratulate the USA, Canada and Mexico on winning the bid to host the 2026 Fifa World Cup".

Perhaps the hosts aren't quite as bad as has been feared.

Saudi Arabia will take the field on Thursday as lengthy +800 underdogs.

Speaking in Russian, Putin thanked Federation Internationale de Football Association for being "one big team" that has helped Russia prepare for the "most significant event in global sport".

England, drawn in Group G, will play their first game of the tournament against Tunisia in Volgograd on Monday.